Governments, businesses race to reimpose mask mandates
Governments and businesses are scrambling to change course following new federal guidance calling for the return of mask wearing in virus hot spots amid a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations nationwide.
Nevada and Kansas City were among the locations that moved swiftly to re-impose indoor mask mandates following Tuesday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidelines also call on all schools to require masks for students, teachers and visitors, and districts around the country are trying to navigate the rules.
In a handful of Republican-led states, lawmakers made it illegal for schools to require masks. South Carolina's governor said the state would not reverse its mask restriction, but Arkansas leaders are weighing whether to revisit an April law banning local and state government entities from requiring masks.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has faced growing calls to lift that ban, at least for schools, as virus cases and hospitalizations surge in the state.
Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, said it would reinstate face mask protocols for all employees and visitors at its Missouri and Florida facilities.
Florida and Missouri are among the hardest-hit states during the summer surge in which the U.S. is now averaging more than 60,000 new cases a day, driven by the highly contagious delta variant spreading through unvaccinated populations.
In Springfield, Missouri, a hospital expanded its morgue capacity as the death toll began to soar. Steve Edwards, the CEO of CoxHealth, said at a news conference Tuesday that his company brought in temporary cooling equipment because 75 patients had died this month — 19 just since Friday — at the Springfield hospital and other system hospitals in the region.
CDC Director Rochelle...